What is the best time to post on Facebook in 2020? Simply put: when your audience will see it.
Finding the best time to post on the platform can increase your engagement, your reach, and even your sales.
In this article, I’ll breakdown how to find the times that work best for both your brand and its audience.
What is the best time to post on Facebook?
According to an aggregation of studies, the best day to post on Facebook for maximum exposure is either Saturday, Sunday, Thursday, Friday or Wednesday at 1 PM, 3 PM or 9 AM. However, it is different by industry. Learn more in the full article.
What You’ll Learn:
- Step 1: Identify your target audience
- Step 2: Time zones and posting times
- Step 3: Look at the stats
- Step 4: Use tools and analytics
- Step 5: Schedule your posts in advance
- Step 6: Consider running ads on Facebook
It’s no secret that Facebook hasn’t exactly made it easy to reach your audience.
But it still remains one of the most powerful social media platforms for marketing.
First of all, Facebook fans are ready to engage, and users leave nearly 5 billion comments on Facebook Pages every month.
They’re also on the site daily – spending roughly half an hour there each day.
And they’re not just there for social reasons, either.
A survey from Curalate found that 52% of participants have found a new retail product on Facebook and were interested in making a purchase.
This is all great news for brands. Fans are there, they’re engaging, and they’re open to finding businesses.
Step 1: Know Your Target Audience
Before you even think about planning a posting schedule, you have to know who you’re trying to reach.
So begin with the basics and define your target audience.
- What are their demographics? Age? Gender?
- What do they do for a living?
- Where do they live?
- What’s their highest level of education?
By answering those questions and creating a full buyer persona, you should be able to better understand your audience, and even when they may be most likely to use Facebook.
For example, if your target market is college students, you already know they operate on a very different schedule than middle-aged businessmen. So, schedule your posts accordingly.
For stay-at-home moms, posting later in the evening might be best. This is after the kids have gone to bed, the work is all done for the day, and the moms have some free time to hang out on social media.
On the other hand, if your target audience is business executives, you may want to post early in the morning or during lunch. These two times are less likely to have any meetings scheduled.
Step 2: Pay Attention to Time Zones
It’s not as simple as knowing the time of day when most users are likely to see your posts ─ you also need to factor in their location. Users in different areas are in different time zones, after all.
To make things simple, we rely on a few industry standards.
You’ll want to schedule your posts based on where the majority of your audience is, and if you cater to a global audience, Google Analytics can help you with that.
As far as time zones go, nearly 50% of the U.S. population is in the Eastern Time Zone, and the Eastern and Central time zones combined comprise almost 80% of the population. Plus, these time zones are only an hour apart, so you’re likely to hit a large portion of the US audience if you’re scheduling based on Eastern or Central time.
Step 3: Look at What the Stats Say
Companies have been researching the best times to post on Facebook for years, which gives marketers a lot of valuable information.
However, when it comes to Facebook, the findings vary.
Buffer reports that the best engagement rates are between 1 – 3 pm on Thursdays and Fridays, while Hootsuite found that Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday at noon produces the best results for B2C brands.
CoSchedule took it a step further and analyzed 14 different studies, concluding that the best time to post varied by industry, though all tend to see success around mid-morning
Given the available information, we can make a few assumptions. Mainly, afternoons are ideal, and Tuesdays don’t produce the same results that other days do.
Save your best content for later in the week, and expect to see lower engagement rates mid-week, especially on early morning or later-in-the-day posts.
Ultimately, these results should serve as general guidelines and a starting off point for businesses new to Facebook. But to get the most accurate read you’ll need to conduct a little research of your own.
As far as frequency goes, you don’t have to worry about sending out constant updates with Facebook. One post a day is plenty, while posting too many times the same day can actually hurt your performance.
Posting too frequently can be annoying for some users, and your posts may get labeled as spam.
Experiment with the times above, and try to find your times that are ‘off-peak,’ especially when compared to your direct competition. Over time, you’ll be able to see which times are producing the best results.
Step 4: Use Tools and Analytics
As always, analytics are your friend when it comes to account optimization.
Once you’ve begun posting consistently, you’ll be able to draw from your own analytics to determine when your audience is most active and engaged.
The best place to start is Facebook Insights.
To find your page Insights, go to your profile and click Insights at the top of your Page.
To track when your fans are online, you’ll select Posts from the left-hand column. You’ll automatically be given a detailed chart that shows the days and times your fans are most active on Facebook.
The averages will be displayed by default, and hovering your cursor over a specific time will show how activity compares to the average.
From this data, you’ll be able to determine the best time slots to target the biggest number of fans.
In your Insights, you’ll also be able to see the timing of your most successful posts. You’ll start in the same place (the Posts section of Page Insights) and select All Posts Published under the chart.
The ‘Published’ column will tell you the exact date and time each post was published. Using this data, you can sort through and start to identify common themes or trends regarding publishing times and higher engagement rates.
Keep in mind, other tools like Fanpage Karma are also great tools to help keep tabs on the best time for you to post on Facebook, and it’s often a good idea to compare findings from multiple sources.
Once you begin to get a clearer picture of when your fans are online and how it correlates with your post engagement, you can start to test theories to see which works best for your brand.
Step 5: Schedule Your Posts Using Social Media Automation
While it’s possible to manually post all updates, we know that scheduling and timing are crucial to generating higher engagement levels.
There are plenty to choose from, but one of my favorites is MeetEdgar.
Once you’ve created an account and connected your social media accounts, you’ll create different categories for your posts (educational, blog posts, tips, questions, videos ) and enter your content.
There, you’ll be able to use the scheduling settings to choose the exact day and time you would like your post to run.
Here’s the cool part. Once you’ve scheduled your post, MeetEdgar will recycle it in your content queue based on category, unless you specify a date to stop running the post.
This way, you’ll have your posts lined up to run on schedule – and they’ll continue to run on the days you don’t have time to update.
Step 6: Consider Running Ads?
Running ads on Facebook is an extremely effective way to reach your audience.
Considering how difficult it is for businesses to find success on purely organic posts, running ads can boost your chances for success.
According to Facebook, the cheapest days to run ads are Sundays and Mondays, while Friday’s are the highest. For other days, see the lowest cost per click here.
Given what we know from other studies, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. But just because they’re the ‘cheapest’ days doesn’t mean they’re the best for your business.
A low CPC on a particular post day means it’s likely to be a popular day for your competitors, too. Find that balance between a popular day for your audience and a high-traffic ad day.
Remember, There May Not be One Best Time to Post
Despite all the data in the world, it’s nearly impossible to draw definite conclusions or determine a one-size-fits-all approach.
With 2.1 billion monthly active users, Facebook has more users than any other social media platform.
This activity is a blessing and a curse. Yes, at least part of your audience is almost sure to be there. But so are all of your competitors.
Increased competition means less exposure for your brand, and there are about 60 million brand pages on Facebook!
With such fierce competition, the most popular times to post could actually be the worst for your business, as you’re that much more likely to get lost in the shuffle.
1. What is the Best Time to Post on Facebook for Maximum Exposure?
According to an aggregation of studies, the best day to post on Facebook for maximum exposure is either:
- Saturday and Sunday
- Thursday and Friday
In general, the best time of day to post to Facebook for maximum exposure is either:
- 1 PM
- 3 PM
- 9 AM
As a rule of thumb, posts published during those times receive higher engagement and in turn, the Facebook algorithm gives them greater exposure.
Keep in mind: about 80% of the U.S. population lives in the Eastern and Central time zones. That means these studies are probably skewed in favor of the eastern half of the United States.
If you live on the West coast, take these studies as a starting point and conduct your own analysis. You might find that they’re the best times to post for maximum exposure in your time zone as well, but it’s best to check your analytics.
2. When is the Best Time to Post on Sunday?
As we’ve seen, the weekend is a great time to get engagement, and that’s especially true if you post on Sunday.
Your content isn’t competing with other businesses that take the weekends off.
According to one study, 13% of posts that were published on the weekend generated the most social shares overall.
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to post on Sunday before 8 AM and after 8 PM. There are a couple of possible explanations as to why those times work so well.
First, when you post early in the morning, you give yourself a chance to catch early risers and people who don’t like to sleep in.
When you post later at night, you can get your brand in front of people who are checking social media after dinner and before going to bed for the night.
3. What Was the Best Time to Post on Facebook in 2019?
There are numerous studies that have sought to answer this question.
According to one study from Elle & Co., the best days to post on Facebook are Saturday and Sunday. The best time is 1 PM.
Another study by Fast Company says that the best time to share on Facebook is between 1 and 4 PM. That research found that Wednesday is the best day to post.
According to Huffington Post, though, the best days are Thursday and Friday, usually in the mid-afternoon.
When Coschedule aggregated the studies, the company found that the best time to post on Facebook is between Thursday and Sunday at 9 AM, 1 PM, or 3 PM.
Unfortunately, those studies don’t always agree.
However, you can take a look at patterns within all the research and get somewhat of a consensus. That’s what Coschedule did.
The company aggregated 25 social media studies from leading sources like Hootsuite, Buffer, HubSpot, and KissMetrics to determine the best times to post on social media in exhaustive analyses.
When Coschedule aggregated the studies, the company found that the best time to post on Facebook is between Thursday and Sunday at 9 AM, 1 PM, or 4 PM.
4. Is There a Best Time to Post on Facebook for Likes?
According to a detailed study from Sprout, the most consistent engagement is on weekdays from 9am to 3pm.
Wednesday offers the best opportunity for likes, and according to the study traffic steadily increases leading up to the middle of the week, and then dwindles off again heading into the weekend.
However, just because activity peaks at certain times doesn’t mean those times are best for you to post. Always test your marketing efforts and check your analytics to see what works best for your brand.
If you’re concerned about engagement, you should focus not only on when you post but also on what you post. People simply aren’t going to react if the content isn’t relevant to them.
So, when is the best time to post on Facebook? There’s no one size fits all answer.
There are more popular times overall, and those are a good jumping-off point when building your own schedule.
From there, you can analyze and tweak as needed as you become more familiar with your audience and when they’re most active.
Remember, factors like time zone and target audience make a difference, and you should always rely on analytics to make the most informed decisions.